ACLU bombards proposed rule that would protect religious conscious

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Tourists and worshippers sit in pews at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The Labor Department has received more than 100,000 public comments in response to a proposed rule on religious defenses that federal contractors can use to shield themselves from workplace discrimination claims. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A proposed rule, which would allow an increased number of federal contractors to form employment decisions based on religion, received almost 109,000 comments but most of these comments were driven by activist groups.

The proposed rule is being proffered by The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

The controversial American Civil Liberties Union accounted for nearly 62,000 comments helping the agency pushing the proposal to a new record.

The civil rights group opposes the proposed rule vehemently stating that it would shield more contractors from complying with anti-discriminatory laws under the expanding religious exemptions.

The distant second was the Family Research Council, a Washington DC based Christian public-policy ministry, at 7,400 comments.

A Bloomberg Law analysis shows that the deluge of comments were calculated campaigns with the groups writing form letters and urging members to sign them before sending them to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

The analysis also shows that there were many other groups who participated in engineering similar form letters, but failed to sign their names.

Only one-fourth of the letters analyzed did not share key language with online form letters. Political scientists said that such mass comment campaigns were very common in Washington DC and did not carry as much weight as individualistic and original letters generated by stakeholders.

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